The Magnificent Ambersons, an Orson Wells film released in 1942, is relevant today, as it highlights living in excess and the impact technological advancement has on society. How technology impacted our environment, and a global pandemic halt of all activities gives the earth a chance to repair itself. Today in 2022, amid a pandemic that we have slowed down, we live with the lack of human touch and personal connections.
Timestamp 40:00 at dinner is Major Amberson, Eugene Morgan, Isabel Amberson Minafer, Fanny Minafer, and George Amberson. The conversations moved to the new competition of automobile
manufacturers in the countryside opening up and the streets widening. The automobile will become the primary mode of transportation and the impact that it will have on society. In a shot counter shot sequence, Major Amberson and Eugene Morgan contemplate the technological advancements of the automobile, consider the impact it will have on society. George Amberson makes a bold statement “Automobiles are a useless nuisance! Will never amount to anything but a nuisance and have no business being invented!” After some defense Major Amberson gives to Eugene Morgan, he agrees with George.
“I’m not so sure George is wrong about automobiles with all their speed forward. They may be a step backward in civilization. Maybe they won’t add to the beauty of the world or the life of man’s souls. I’m not sure. But automobiles have come. And almost all outward things are going to be different because of what they bring. They are going to alter war and they’re going to alter peace. And I think man’s minds are going to change in subtle ways because of automobiles. It may be that George is right. Maybe in ten or twenty years from now if we can see the inward change in men by that time…I shouldn’t be able to defend the gasoline engine but would have to agree with George. That automobiles have no business being invented.”
What is lost in them social contagions are associated with technological advances. Eugene’s concerns are speeding up we will lose the human connections. Today in 2022, it took a pandemic to slow us down enough to crave more meaning in our lives and how we are going to develop those relationships. The new technology advancement impacting society is the internet. It is providing access for dark souls feeding upon our young.
The Magnificent Ambersons set in 1873 in Midland, the state not identified. Miss Isabel Ambersons, Major Ambersons daughter, married Wilbur Minafer. She couldn’t love Eugene Morgan, so her love would all go to her children. Mrs. Walter and the gossipy women forecast Isabel and Wilbur’s future children’s behavior as spoiled brats in the four-shot. Three women face the camera, and the fourth is seen frame in the sewing machine. The scene cuts to the street as Well’s narrates, correcting the detail of the number of children down to one child. The camera steadies the buildings framing left and right as the pony-carriage rides toward the camera in this street scene. Wells describes George Ambersons Minafer as a princely terror. The scene shows this pony carriage tearing through the streets with little regard for others. The townspeople had hoped to see the day when that boy would get his come-up-ins. In the spoiling of George, important structure to the film would eventually ruin them all. Later in life, his mother refused to stand up to her son. Claim her power and force George to create a career for himself when she could rekindle her relationship with Eugene. The impact would be their fortune is gone, and the elders in the family had died forces him to take a laborer job at a chemical factory toward the close of the film. None of the people who wanted to see George get his come-up-ins were alive or were no longer in town.